The accolades just keep rolling in for Daviyon Nixon. We already knew he was the best defensive lineman -- and best overall defensive player -- in the Big Ten. Turns out he was also one of the very best defenders in the entire country. Nixon has been named a first-team All-American by multiple different selectors:
The selections from the AP, The Sporting News, and the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) are especially pertinent, because those are three of the five "major" selectors used to determine consensus and unanimous All-America status. The remaining two "major" selectors are the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) and the WCFF (Walter Camp Football Foundation). The AFCA is set to announce its All-America selections on Thursday, December 31, while the WCFF will announce its selections on January 7. By being named a first team All-American by the AP, The Sporting News, and the FWAA, Nixon has locked up consensus All-American honors; if he earns first team honors from the AFCA and WCFF he'll become a unanimous first team All-American.
The only way to adequately describe Nixon's performance in Iowa's unfortunately shortened eight-game season is "dominant." Nixon was an unstoppable force on Iowa's defensive line, shucking offensive linemen aside with ease and mauling opposing running backs and quarterbacks on a regular basis. And sometimes he even screwed around and got a pick-six, complete with Eurostep flourish.
Iowa had a very good defense in 2020 -- and Nixon was the engine driving that defense all season long.
Nixon isn't the only Hawkeye to earn All-America consideration, though -- Tyler Linderbaum has been named a second team All-American by the AP and the FWAA, as well as a first team All-American by The Athletic and Pro Football Focus.
Nixon was the leader for Iowa's defense (and the defensive line in particular), while Linderbaum was his counterpart on the offensive side of the ball. He was the anchor of Iowa's offensive line, setting the tone with technically proficient blocks regularly delivered with a mean streak flourish. Linderbaum led an offensive line that set the table for a rushing attack that was top-5 in the Big Ten and ranked third in the league in fewest sacks allowed.
The All-America honors for Nixon and Linderbaum continue what's been a consistent trend for Iowa players in recent years. This is the second straight year Iowa has had a consensus All-American after Keith Duncan earned consensus All-American honors a year ago. Nixon is also the fourth Hawkeye in the last four seasons to earn consensus or unanimous All-America honors, after Duncan in 2019 and Josey Jewell and Josh Jackson, both unanimous All-America selections, in 2017. In fact, Iowa has had at least one first or second team All-American every season since 2014 and six different consensus or unanimous first team All-Americans in that span.
- 2014: Brandon Scherff (unanimous first team)
- 2015: Desmond King (unanimous first team)
- 2016: Desmond King (second team)
- 2017: Josey Jewell (unanimous first team)
- 2017: Josh Jackson (unanimous first team)
- 2018: TJ Hockenson (second team)
- 2019: Keith Duncan (consensus first team)
- 2019: Tristan Wirfs (first team)
- 2019: AJ Epenesa (second team)
- 2020: Daviyon Nixon (consensus first team)
- 2020: Tyler Linderbaum (second team)
Hell of a run. The only longer run in Iowa history came from 1979 to 1988, when Iowa had a first or second team All-American for 10 straight seasons. The accolades likely aren't done for Nixon or Linderbaum this season, either -- in addition to the All-America teams still to be announced, Nixon is a finalist for the Outland Trophy and the Nagurski Trophy, while Linderbaum is a finalist for the Rimington Trophy.
Congratulations to Nixon and Linderbaum on these well-deserved honors.